Giuseppina Piunti (Margared), Guylaine Girard (Rozenn), Eric Martin-Bonnet (Le Roi d’Ys), Sébastien Guèze (Mylio), W. Van Mechelen (Karnac), Léonard Graus (Saint Corentin), Marc Tissons (Jahel) Conductor Patrick Davin Director Jean-Louis Pichon Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie
WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING of this three-act opera which originally premiered in 1888, less than four years before the death of its composer. It is sung in French.
The opera is a variation of the ancient Breton legend of the city of Ys, a mythical city built off the coast of Brittany which was subsequently swallowed by the ocean. In Lalo’s version the love-struck Margared, in a jealous rage, takes revenge on her sister Rozenn, and Mylio (whom Ma loves, but to whom R is engaged) by handing the keys to the sluice gates evil Karnac who inevitably opens them, threatening to destroy the city. Margared’s eventual suicide calms the sea and saves the city.
The choice of subject based in legend, as well as (albeit prudently used) leitmotifs associated with each of the principal characters strongly link the opera to Wagnerism, although it remains a decidedly French opera, with elements of popular music inspired by Breton folklore.
The first version of the score was completed in 1881 but in 1886 Lalo decided to rewrite it completely. It is impossible to know the changes he made as the first version was destroyed.